Britt Ghiroli, the Orioles beat reporter for, recently posted a chat from her blog. This question was asked about Kevin Gausman:

There was a lot of back and forth with Gausman last year. What are the plans for him in 2015?

Her response was this:

Gausman will be considered for a rotation spot this spring, and while the O’s have six starters for five spots right now, Showalter said that doesn’t mean Gausman would go in the bullpen again. The right-hander has made significant strides at the big league level and could win one of the spots out of camp. While the Orioles will continue to monitor his innings, like they do for all of their starters, having another year under his belt and another increase in workload should help his cause. It’s becoming harder and harder for the Orioles to justify shuttling him back and forth to Triple-A if his performance doesn’t justify that.

This off-season, we have heard far too many comments about Gausman being in the bullpen or in Norfolk and this comment from Britt is the latest one. I understand that we have 6 starters right now and I get that Gausman has options but any thought of him not being a starter on the Opening Day roster is absurd.

(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays

First of all, we know about the talent. No one on the ML roster has his upside or talent. That alone should make him a shoo-in for the rotation. Now, some might say, well you do have to perform to justify being in the ML rotation no matter how talented you are. I agree with that. So, lets take a look at his performance.

In 2014, Gausman led the Orioles staff in FIP. His FIP was 3.41, which was over a half run better than the next closest pitcher (Wei Yen Chen). His xFIP was second on the staff (Chen was first). His ERA was fourth on the staff. His K rate was third on the staff. He did finish 5th in BB rate but his BB rate was still solid. His HR rate was the best on the staff although he did have a very low HR/FB ratio. He showed a good ability to miss bats. We also saw improvement last year. In the second half of the year, we saw an improved K rate, an ever so slightly improved BB rate and he was going a little deeper into games. He also ended the year with a good September. His ERA dropped from 3.93 to 3.57, he went deeper into games and we saw an increase in K rate.

The thing he has to work on, besides fastball command, is getting batters out quicker. By that, I don’t mean he should be pitching to contact or anything like that, just that he is throwing too many pitchers per batter and isn’t throwing enough strikes (last year, his str% was under 62%, which is below average). Now, that does go back to fastball command and that is the #1 thing Gausman has to improve on.

The second thing he has to improve on is that third pitch. That pitch can be a 2 seamer that he can get weak contact from or improving that slider (or both would be nice). It doesn’t really matter what pitch it is but Gausman has to be more than a fastball/changeup guy if he wants to get to that elite level of starter that we all hope he can be.

He isn’t going to improve at AAA anymore. Gausman has to be in the majors, getting work with Dave Wallace and learning from the best and against the best.

You can make the argument that he was the BEST starter the team had last year in the starts that he did get. He is young, has the best stuff on the staff and showed improvement. He threw just under 160 innings in 2014, which means he should basically be full go in 2015. There shouldn’t be any thought of holding him back or anything like that. He may not be able to give us 220+ innings next year but we can get 190-200 innings and that is exactly what should happen, assuming he stays healthy.

So, can we please stop hearing any kind of hinting that Gausman isn’t on the ML roster from Day 1 in the 2015 season? There used to be a time where this organization could play the service time guy but that time has passed.  This team needs that high ceiling talent and Gausman may already be the best pitcher anyway. 

Rob Shields
Rob Shields

Rob has interviewed guests from outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports, Baseball Prospectus, Athlon, Sporting News, MLB Network, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Info Solutions, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Sports on Earth, Grantland, NFL Network, FanGraphs, Football Outsiders, ProFootballFocus, etc. etc. The Baltimore native lives in Perry Hall with his Wife Lindsay, and two young sons. He has appeared as a guest on 105.7 The Fan, Q1370, and WNST 1570. Co-Host of The Warehouse: Co-Host of Sports Tonight: